Your beach vacation may be but a fond memory but cooler weather may bring ski vacations, walks, and additional time under the sun – which means exposure to it’s damaging, ultraviolet rays. Wrinkles, premature aging, sun-spots and skin cancer can all trace their beginnings to the sun.
The skin cancer concern:
The invasion or spread of abnormal cells to your skin can result in skin cancer…scary words and a diagnosis that nobody wants to hear. But many skin cancers can be easily and successfully treated if caught early. Checking your skin, especially skin that is exposed to the sun, at least once a year for changes or abnormalities is a must. Pre-cancerous lesions and other suspicious growths can then be timely treated. This is especially important as you get older.
The three types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell is a slow growing cancer, which is unlikely to spread to distant areas of the body or cause death. It appears as a painless, sometimes shiny raised area of the skin.
- Squamous cell is more likely to spread. It appears as a hard lump with a scaly top.
- Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer. Moles that have changed in size, color or shape or are itchy or bleed are some of the signs of melanoma.
Skin cancer is very serious, but most skin cancers, if found early, are treatable. People with many moles have a higher risk of melanoma. Other risk factors include heredity, advanced age, light skin color and exposure to tanning beds.
Over one million people each year in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer. Unfortunately, many more go undiagnosed. UVA and UVB sunscreen helps block the damaging rays that can lead to skin cancer but sunscreen alone does not prevent it. Sun damage is cumulative over your lifetime and to be effective at all, sunscreen must be worn. Applying it to your hands and neck as well as your face it a good idea.
If it’s been awhile since you had your skin checked for cancer, call to book an appointment at our Midtown Manhattan office with Dr. Quintana, today: 212.391.8600.